Minister for Children Anne Tolley says a new handbook brings together information about universal health and education services, making it easier for caregivers to find the information they need to access services.
“Caregivers are an essential part of the support we provide for vulnerable children and young people in care, ensuring that they have safe and loving homes,” says Mrs Tolley.
“We know that children and young people in care do not access universal health and education services at the same rates as those who are not in care.
“Caregivers have told us that they find it hard to get information on health and education entitlements for the children in their care. Hand in Hand book has been designed to address this gap. It’s the result of a co-design process with caregivers and social workers.
“Hand in Hand book, produced with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, provides information on publicly-funded health and education services available to families from before birth through to 18 years old.
“This is part of a wider multi-agency drive to increase uptake and engagement by New Zealanders with core health and education services.”
The handbook covers services available to everyone as well as information on how to access more specialist support services. Hand in Hand book is being distributed to caregivers and is available online at: www.mvcot.govt.nz
Budget 2017 invests $26.4 million to support around 4,500 caregivers of children in care, as well as help for those caring for higher needs children.
There are a number of initiatives underway to provide further targeted help to caregivers including a new after-hours phoneline, peer support, targeted training, and more effective recruitment and retention strategies.